Archive for the ‘Random Musings’ category

Where’s the love?

October 27, 2012

I might be opening myself up far more than I should, but I need to write more, so here goes.

I was pondering a question earlier today regarding love. I asked myself whether or not I have experienced love and whether I have ever truly loved somebody. Mind you, I am not limiting my question to merely the love found in romantic relationships, I am speaking about love in general. Love for family, love for friends, a pet, etc. Any kind of love.

The conclusion that I came to is that I have never in my life experienced love. Maybe I did as a child, but I certainly don’t remember it. Sure, I’ve said “I love you” in the past, but it seems that that was merely a lie, or just going with the flow. I cannot, for the life of me, identify a single person in my life that I have actually loved.

While this may offend certain people in my life, especially a certain family-member that reads this blog, it is the absolute truth. Strangely, I am entirely content with that. It certainly makes it far easier to deal with the inevitable.

I’m Back!

October 23, 2012

Yes, I’ve been absent from both the blogosphere (including my own blog) and Facebook for roughly about the past 4 weeks. So, what was I up to?

Well, my internet connection went down about 3 1/2 weeks ago, so the only way that I could connect to the internet was to go to my local coffee shop. While I really enjoy that particular coffee shop (it’s a small, locally owned establishment that often has live jazz, classical and bluegrass groups), I also don’t like spending hours sitting there, taking up space, and mooching their data bandwidth. I tend to also have a self-conscious reaction whereby I feel like a total hipster sitting there, alone and bespectacled, with my Macbook Pro sitting before me with its ever so noticeable glowing Apple emblem. You know the type, and I am not, nor do I wish to be construed as, that type of person. So, I only went to the coffee shop once or twice, and that time was spent paying bills, checking accounts, transfers, email, etc; the necessities.

Next, about 2 1/2 weeks ago I was informed by my employer that I was going to be spending the next 2 1/2 weeks in Pittsburg. Interestingly, I got my home internet connection fixed about 30 minutes before I was to leave on this business trip. Yes, I was cutting it close. Needless to say, I didn’t have much time to write blog posts.

One might be inclined to say something akin to, “well, if you’re out of town, then you’re staying in a hotel that most assuredly has an internet connection. What gives?”. Yes, it is correct that I had an internet connection in my hotel room. However, there are other considerations that prevented me from spending much time on the internet. One excuse is the nature of the work itself, the other is the demanding schedule that I was subjected to. Let me explain.

The job that I was sent to was a tunnel along I-376 called ‘Squirrel Hill Tunnel’. It is a highway tunnel with two lanes on each side, and is a major artery into and out of downtown Pittsburg. The work that we were accomplishing is the removal of the ceiling, which is made of hardened and reinforced concrete with a thickness of roughly 18 inches throughout the tunnel, and has a thickness of 24-36 inches near the keyways (the far ends of the tunnel). Keep in mind that this ceiling isn’t the load-bearing structure of the tunnel (can you say “over-engineered”?), rather it is merely a ceiling that runs the length of the tunnel, so once this ceiling is removed it reveals the dome-shaped load-bearing structure that is the actual tunnel. Apparently, when this tunnel was built most vehicles weren’t tall enough to hit this ceiling. However, as can be shown by the long scrapes and gouges on this ceiling, it was clear that it needed to either be raised or demolished alogether.

I spent my time working in the “inbound” tunnel. During the week, we would work in one lane, while the other lane was left open to traffic. We would work from roughly 9 pm to 4:30 am hammering out the areas along the edge where the ceiling meets the bearing structure of the tunnel (i.e. the joint where the ceiling meets the tunnel walls). While my work is almost always very dangerous and nerve-racking, this is the first time that I’ve ever performed my demolition work with traffic whizzing at 60-70 mph within two feet of me. Since this is a main artery of the Pittsburg highway system, the traffic was pretty consistent the entire time, with very little let up.

As I said, we were working from 9 pm to about 4:30 am with live traffic, but this only applied during the week. During the weekend my schedule would change to a twelve-hour day schedule that started at 7 am and concluded at 7 pm (we were actually running two 12-hour shifts during the weekend, but mine was the day shift). On weekends we would completely shut down the inbound lanes of the tunnel to all traffic, bring in the heavy machinery, and take down the bulk of the ceiling. While it is nice that on the weekend there are no worries about getting mowed over by a tractor-trailer traveling at 70 mph, there is the fear of getting run over by a giant track-hoe or giant slabs of concrete falling onto your head. Also, there is the hazard due to the enormous amount of silica dust created by the demolition of concrete, so respirators must be worn at all times (I wear a respirator at all times anyhow). Did I mention that my work is dangerous?

As you can see, my last couple of weeks were filled with lots of action and unnerving hazards (there are more hazards than what I mentioned, but those were the biggies). My schedule was one that very few people could accomplish while also being fully cognizant and aware. So, please grant me a reprieve for not having blogged over the course of the past 4 weeks. However, I must say that I will attempt to make up for this absence by recording a few songs that I’ve written over the past couple of months, so you can look forward to that.

Note: My time wasn’t entirely wasted on work, I was able to read Plato’s Republic, a few chapters of Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty vol. II, as well as a few old articles from Franz Boas. I could have spent this time blogging, but in my mind reading comes before writing, learning before teaching, absorbing before expressing, etc.

I also want to clarify that while the nature of my work is dangerous, that both the company that I work for, as well as the men that I work with, always ensure that we are accomplishing our work in the safest manner possible. I work with some of the most highly regarded professionals in our industry.

This Annoys Me

September 22, 2012

Whenever I am driving and come to a light, I always make sure that if I’m in the left lane that I am not behind somebody making a left turn. However, I’ve noticed that many people will sit in the left lane, with no turn signal, then when the light turns green they will turn on their left turn signal. Gosh I want to give these people five across the eyes.

I’m Famous!

September 12, 2012

Yippee! That is what I live for. It is the embodiment of my entire being. It’s what I was put on this Earth to do.

Seriously, though. I was in a chat-room on ‘Liberty Chat’ today, it’s special guest was Dr. Thomas Woods and the host was Scott Horton. The chatting was nice, as was the on-air discussion, but a few things caught my attention (other than the crickets).

First, there were a few people that recognized my name from around the web. This isn’t surprising for me, in the past few years I have been pretty adamant about using my own birth-name during my internet travels (out of principle, but mostly for consistency), so the fact that people recognize my name isn’t strange to me, I post comments on the same sites pretty consistently (I am a creature of habit). However, there was one comment that struck me as strange. Essentially, they said that “Fetz is famous for his comments on blogs”. Well, yes. I comment on a variety of blogs, this is true. But famous? I highly doubt that.

Tom Woods is famous, he’s accomplished things that are beyond me (he’s a NY Times best-selling author, after all). In fact, he has a skill-set that I can only dream of, as well as quick wit and a likable personality, two things that continually evade me. But me being famous? Nope, that is not the case, and I don’t know that I would necessarily want that to be the case.

Trust me when I say that I am not attempting to ride on his coattails or anybody else’s; I could never live up to such a thing in the long run, I assure you. I just admire his and other people’s work and comment on their blogs when I feel the urge.

The reality is that I am a very outspoken guy, and I feel that if somebody is going to be as outspoken as I am then they should use their real name and stand behind their strongly-held positions. If this is fame, then surely I must have missed a memo or two, because the benefits certainly aren’t forthcoming.

I’m in the weeds on this one.

Prediction

September 7, 2012

Typically I am not one to make predictions about the future, because the future is uncertain and my name isn’t ‘Joestradamus’. However, today I have a wild hair in my ass and I am feeling like I have the answer. Now, keep in mind that I absolutely know that I may be wrong and that I am full of shit, but making predictions is fun (especially when they turn out to be correct). So here goes …

My prediction is that Mitt Romney will be the next president of the United States.

Yeah, yeah. I know. It seems like a long shot, but hear me out.

First, Romney is probably the least conservative out of those who ran for the Republican ticket, yet he got the nomination. I haven’t even seen a single button, sticker, yard sign, or anything else with Mitt Romney’s name on it (at least not out in public), yet he is the guy that got the nomination. He’s a mormon, a religion that most of the religious right despises, yet he got the nomination. The guy’s personality is as exciting as an NPR piece, yet he got the nomination. He’s the last choice of just about any Republican that I’ve talked to, yet he got the nomination.

The next reason is pretty straight forward, he has the most support from Wall Street. Don’t get me wrong, Obama is a Wall Street puppet, too; but it is clear that Mitt Romney is certainly Goldman Sachs’s golden boy. All of Romney’s top donors are banks, and it is my opinion that it is the banks that run most of Congress and the Presidency, because well, they’ve got the money. Whatever the banks say, goes. This should be clear to anybody that wasn’t living under a rock the past 4 years.

The last thing that makes me think that Romney is going to win has to do with foreign policy, but this is going to take a little explanation. As most anybody knows, the Israeli lobby has a firm grip on just about every Washington politician’s balls. For the most part, you can’t get elected or stay in office without jumping through hoops for AIPAC, stating your unwavering support for Israel, and possibly even donning a yamulke and heading to Israel to kiss the wailing wall. And if you’ve been paying attention since Bush’s second term, Israel really wants a war with Iran. The thing is, Israel isn’t willing to engage in that war on her own, instead she wants the US to do it for her. It’s essentially Iraq all over again.

Thus far Obama has made it pretty clear that he’s not going to just start bombing the shit out of Iran. I’m pretty sure that he’ll murder Iranians if he has to– after all, he’s certainly no problem murdering other people in that region– but he’s clearly been hesitant to do so thus far. It’s a hard sell after Iraq and 10 years of war in A-stan. For this he is seen as “abandoning Israel”. Romney, on the other hand, has been doing his war-hawking routine and has pretty much made it clear that he’d bomb Iran without a problem. Of course, Romney has done plenty to show his faithfulness to Israel, including the whole yamulke-wailing wall routine.

So, that’s my prediction. I think Romney has the 3 most important groups behind him (political establishment, bankers, Israel), and that is all that matters under our current system. Obviously, I don’t think that the people have much say in such matters, just enough to make them think that they have a voice. I could be wrong, but that is how I see it right now.

Note: If Obama wages war against Iran before the elections, then he is a shoo-in.

Fat and Stupid

September 4, 2012

A new American study has come out saying that metabolic syndrome (MetS) has a negative impact on cognition and brain structure. Infowars, that bastion of objective reporting run by Alex Jones, is crazily reporting that this study was undertaken by the pharmaceutical industry in order to have a pretense to begin manufacturing drugs for the purpose of reversing these outcomes. Also being claimed by Infowars is that this is all done with the goal of population reduction through pharmaceuticals.

Okay, that may be, I don’t really know. However, it seems to me that the study is merely showing a correlation between MetS and lowered cognition/brain size, and that there are many reasons to believe that nutrition is a causal factor in this case. So, wouldn’t it be easier for somebody who becomes aware of this to just change his diet to one that doesn’t cause MetS? Granted, I know that is easier said than done in many cases, that many people don’t know a thing about nutrition, and most don’t really care anyhow (they engage in higher risk). But this problem is far easier to solve than in cases where studies show lower cognition and brain size in those with malnutrition, because usually the malnutrition is caused by poverty.

Drug companies are going to produce a drug for any perceived illness. They don’t need a correlation between MetS and cognition to justify making drugs for fat idiots. There already exists metabolically damaged people, there already exists stupid people, there already exists metabolically broken stupid people; of course drugmakers will look for chemical solutions to these problems, that is what they are in business to do. How does one get to the conclusion that this is a population control scheme when one merely notices the correlation between these two factors? That’s just stupid (though not fat).

However, since I am into the whole conspiracy theory stuff, I will bring up one thing that I often notice in studies such as this. Many of the conclusions derived from the dietetics and medical literature is often based upon non-causal ideas. Often, observational studies showing a correlation of factors just aren’t rigorous enough to come to a valid conclusion, yet many in the field try to pass such conclusions off as settled science. I see this all of the time, and it almost always has to do with meat studies undertaken by vegetarian researchers. The study above doesn’t appear to do this to such an extent.

However, since I love shoddy conclusions based upon correlation, here’s my take: The results of this particular study could very well be due to the fact that a lot of Americans are fat and a lot of Americans are stupid, and that a correlation was ensured by the shear numbers of fat idiots in America. If this is the case, then maybe the researcher’s conclusion is actually entirely wrong, because surely if they are American researchers then some of them will be stupid (and probably really fat). If this is true, then maybe they got it backwards, and it is stupidity that causes MetS in the first place. Therefore, we should only trust this data if the researchers involved are really skinny. I call it ‘The circular-correlation, fat idiot researcher theory’.

Note: I must add that I am of the opinion that stupidity most certainly has an effect on health and health choices.

Random Thought

August 29, 2012

The more people that I meet, the more I realize just how weird they really are.